26 April 2018

My top five European cities



When thinking of my top five European cities, it is actually quite difficult, as we all know how much this continent has to offer. Whenever I meet travellers who have never been to Europe, I find that they often think they can cover off Europe in a few weeks. I’ve lived in Europe for over 27 years and I haven’t even touched the surface. Even though we may be a small continent, we sure make up for it in terms of culture, cuisine and history. Every European country is vastly different from the next, and the same goes for the cities as well, but I think I’ve managed to narrow my European city ventures down to my top 5.


Budapest


Ruin bars, an old city, Turkish baths and cheap beer. What is not to love? One of my fav European cities is the Hungarian capital, Budapest. I have only visited once but I’d happily visit again and explore the nooks and crannies of this place, as my first trip did result in a lot of hangovers…

I’d recommend to spend a few days here, explore the beauty and history of the old town, grab a few drinks from the ruin bars (popular ones are Szimpla and Instant), then head to the baths and relax in the heat. Or, consider taking a boat trip down the Danube to nearby towns and suburbs of this capital and see what else is on offer.


Paris


I am in love with Paris. Some say they find it underwhelming when they arrive, that actually Paris has some quite grimy parts, but that’s why I love it. The majority of the city, or the bits you see as a tourist are inspiring! Beautiful architecture, ornate statues and generally just incredible sights. I can walk around this city for days and I’d still find that I am in awe of it’s beauty. I also need not really mention the food that the French capital has to offer. Pastry, wine, cheese, bread, but why aren’t the Parisians fat?! Maybe they save it all for me?

Anyone that hasn’t been to Paris, needs to really go. It may not be the cheapest European capital to stay in, but you can get by with the right tricks and the right deals. I stayed for 3 nights, with flights from Manchester included for just £200 on a last minute deal. Yep I probably spent more whilst I was there, but I do love a grog au rhum after all.


Prague


I have been to Prague trice now and I still haven’t touched on what the Czech capital has to offer. A smallish European capital, as you can walk around the main sights and hotspots but there is still plenty to do over a few days. Prague is getting more and more popular each year, and with that comes more and more expense, but I find that it is still a relatively cheap European capital.

You will find a big mix of history and culture, plus more modern and edgy parts of the city. Head to the John Lennon for graffiti heaven. Or for a more scenic day, walk on the Charles Bridge and listen to local musicians playing along. Head over to the old town and explore great views teamed with great wine. Or head just a little out of the city centre to see Sedlec Ossuary, which is a type of church made up of over 40,000 skeletons…


Salzburg


This may be an odd one to add onto the list but I couldn’t get enough of this Austrian city and it’s charm. Salzburg may be most popularly known for the location from the Sound of Music, or for the birthplace of Mozart. Therefore, the culture and history of this city has so much to offer the average traveller.

When you picture a typical Austrian town (or at least when I picture it), then everything that is pictures is all envisaged within Salzburg. Freshly made pretzels sold my local vendors, beautiful European architecture, incredible mountain views and good beer. This city is worth adding to your European Must-Do’s and it’s worth a day or two of your time. Easily accessible from Vienna on the train and everything is moderately priced. But a lot of the beauty of this Austrian city is the buildings and nature, so you can tick a lot of free things to do off your list.


Manchester


Last but not certainly not least, is one of my favourite cities, and my current home, Manchester. I moved to Manchester two years ago, after only visiting once or twice and mainly making the trip to use the airport. I can’t believe this amazing city was on my doorstep for so many years and I never really bothered to visit. The city has so much to offer and it has that great Northern British charm about it. From great bars, great restaurants, beautiful buildings and a lot of history as well.

For example, did you know that Emily Pankhurst, Antony Burgess and so many incredible musicians were born here. With that, then comes a lot of culture and history. The music scene in this city is incredible and you can enjoy a vast amount of live music and comedy for a great price. There is also a fantastic sense of community and people are really proud to be from this Northern powerhouse, plus it’s easy to understand why. When the tragic bombing happened at the Ariana Concert last May, it was overwhelmingly brilliant to see the whole city pull together and show how incredible we are at been there for each other.

I don’t plan on moving away anytime soon as I really do love it here, and after all, I still have so many more bars I need to tick off.

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